Exploring ILL COMMUNICATION’s “Doomsday Brigade”: a track by track discourse

8 mins read
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto

Born from the fertile grounds of Oxnard and Tehachapi hardcore scenes, Ill Communication is the sonic manifestation of over a decade and a half of musical camaraderie. The members, seasoned musicians in their own right, have journeyed through North America and Europe with bands like The Warriors, Diehard Youth, No Motiv, Retaliate, and Gravemaker, finally solidifying their collective energy into this hardcore powerhouse. Soon after their inception, they hit the ground running, throwing down a couple of EPs and a one-sided 12″ on Another City Records, all engineered and recorded by their inner circle.

Fast forward to 2023, they’re dropping their debut full-length, “Doomsday Brigade,” a name that echoes the band’s unabashed hardcore attitude. The record, released on March 31st release, sees Safe Inside Records handling the vinyl/digital, while Heroes and Martyrs Records take care of the CD/tape formats.

Ill Communication by Dave Mandel
Ill Communication by Dave Mandel

“Doomsday Brigade” encapsulates twenty years of friendship, multiple bands, tours, a global lockdown, and an unwavering love for hardcore punk. Despite the band members spreading out across the U.S and Europe, they managed to channel their collective spirit into this record. Rooted in traditional hardcore punk, the album doesn’t shy away from experimenting with melody, speed, groove, and heaviness. The tracks weave through a variety of topics, from calling out persisting racism, discussing tech-addiction, to celebrating friendships and calling out political schemers.

The record stands as an 11-track, 20-minute sonic assault with catchy choruses, enough breakdowns to keep the mosh pits going, and an overarching vibe that commands an active live-show experience. Fans of One Step Closer, Comeback Kid, and Terror, your ears are in for a treat!

“We wrote this LP with the intention of taking the listener on a ride.” – says the band.

“Our musical influence are all over the place. We are fans of bands in all the sub genres of hardcore punk. From Terror to Praise to Torena to No Plan to Major Pain as well as the classics. We wanted to flex all those influence in the music we wrote.”


Ill Communication pays homage to many bands and hip hop acts they admire, and their tribute often takes the form of sampling from these influences. The band’s name is a tribute to the Beastie Boys’ album “Ill Communication”, a testament to their impact on Andy and his musical journey.

A key theme of the album is the critique of societal issues, a reflection of vocalist Andy Franchere’s realistic outlook on society and humanity. The lyrics call out people who exploit their power, highlighting the importance of speaking up and unity in combating abuse. Also addressed is the adverse impact of technology and social media on people’s lives and a strong stand against racism.

“Doomsday Brigade” is an album deeply rooted in the hardcore scene, its essence revolves around the ongoing struggle against societal norms, the fight against racism, and the societal impact of technology.

It’s a homage to the bonds and friendships formed in the world of hardcore music, portraying the power of unity, and acknowledging the human tenacity to stand against adversities. The album is an ode to the persistent search for knowledge, self-empowerment, and calling out unjust authority figures. A touch of humor and fun is incorporated, reflecting that the band, while serious about their message, also aims to enjoy the process and foster friendships. In essence, the album underscores the band’s mantra, “It’s ill to hang out with the ones you love”.

Check out the full track by track commentary after a scroll.

Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto

“We wanted to write a record that is roots hardcore with modern twist. We wrote a record that we wanted to hear in 2023. Something that will get kids circle pitting and piling up to sing along, busting out some stage dives or head walks, and even a few spins kicks in the pit.”

Ill Communication features Joe Martin on Bass, Matt Battiglia on Guitar, Andy Franchere on Vocals, and Roger Camero handling Drums & Guitar. Engineered by Roger Camero, and produced by the dynamic duo of Vinnie Caruana and Donny Phillips, “Doomsday Brigade” features guest and backup vocals by the Ill-Cult.

“Doomsday Brigade” owes its crisp sound to the talents of Chad Walker who undertook the recording, while Roger Camero lent his expertise to the mixing. The creative minds of Vinnie Caruana and Donny Phillips came on board to aid in the production of the album. Donny also showcased his artistic side by handling the artwork for all physical formats. The album has been brought to the fans in multiple forms – Safe Inside Records released the vinyl version, while Heroes and Martyrs Records catered to the CD and Tape aficionados.

Check out the band’s special track by track commentary below:

Ill Communication by Dave Mandel
Ill Communication by Dave Mandel

Forever War, Forever Ill

The song title is a nod to the Sci-fi book The Forever War. As lifers in the hardcore scene we will always be at odds with normal society and considered outcast. We will forever be at war in our own way society. A society that thinks we should live certain way or that we should give up on being part of this thing we all love, just because they do not “get it”. So this song is for the Ironminds who are keeping the faith, the ones who chose a different path and keep it ill.

Neanderthal Nation (feat Dan Sant of Over My Dead Body)

You can never have enough anti racist songs, so we decided to write one. When penning the lyrics I was not thinking of the average knuckle head out protesting or acting a fool. I was thinking of the people in the shadows behind these groups, funding and directing them. The scum bags wearing the crowns of hatred. So the phrase “smash them crowns” is aimed at the head of the snake. We asked Dan Sant of Over My Dead Body fam to sing on this track. The OMDB song Neanderthal Convention was the inspiration for our song title. Both tracks have similar vibe and Dan absolutely crushed the guest Vox spot.

Flip the Switch (feat Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche, & Constant Elevation)

“Flip the Switch” features our main man Vinnie Caruana. He helped out on the backing tracks as well as dropping a few lines for a guest spot. The song was written as a commentary on the how technology is changing the world around us. While technology can be used to make our lives easier, to save lives as well as make us more productive, there is a down side. That down side is how technology can consume people and influence them to make decisions based on no research or human interaction. We are not against forward progress, and we are all for using technology to get our music and message out. The message of this song is to encourage people to flip that switch, check their priorities and to reach out to their friends.

Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto

Well Represented (Featuring Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors, Bernie Dominguez of Anxiety Attack, & Gregg Fiddler of Elephant Skin)

The lyrics for this track where written by Zack Nelson of Retaliate & 185 Miles South Podcast. He has been a friend of ours for many years and a great lyricist, so we asked if he would contribute to the record. He wrote an ode to Tehachapi Hardcore. The song perfectly captures the story, beginning to present. “All my friends in my heart forever” and “we walk the path and the righteous know this” are two examples of our special scene up in the mountains. We had three of our friends who fronted important Tehachapi Hardcore bands through out the years do some guest lines. We hope that this song will hit home for anyone who is involved in hardcore and has the same type of bonds with their crew of homies.

Soul, Brains, & Guts

Roger Camero the mastermind of the band helped write the lyrics on this one. There are people out there who love to see others fail. They will pat you on the back then spit in your face. Thats when you look inside and find that insight or “ill-sight” as we call it. The inner strength to stand hard and spit back in the worlds face. The title is a blatant rip from 7 Seconds who are a huge influence in our punk rock journey. It takes Soul, Brains and Guts to keep things real.

Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto

Audio Algebra

Inspired by some Warzone lyrics, because Warzone rules. And what is a hardcore full length with out a song about unity. Support your local scene, go to shows, do a zine, sing along to bands, circle pit, start a podcast, be a force for good.

Crucial Connection (Featuring Marshal Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors)

This track was written by Vinnie Caruana. We meet when his band The Movielife and Kill Your Idols played a show in my parents garage over 20 years ago and the crucial bond between Tehachapi and Long Island was formed. It’s a fun song about how the bonds of friendship go coast to coast and across the sea. Marshal of the almighty Warriors sang on this song. Another long time friend and torch bearer for Tehachapi Hardcore. And yes “You’ll never walk alone” is a shout out to Liverpool FC.

World War Ill (Featuring Eva Hall of No Plan & Power Alone, Andrew Verity of Vendetta & Retaliate)

“World War Ill” features Eva Hall and Andrew Verity. Both of which are long time friends and two of our favorite front persons. The song is inspired by dirtbag people in positions of power or authority that use their status to take advantage of others. These shady types might be in a band, a co-worker, a promoter, a scene celebrity or a key board warrior. These behaviors range from intimidation, to grooming, to worse. Any human who is guilty of these actions needs to be called out. This song is a call to arms to those who participate in the hardcore punk scene. A call to unite and take a stand against these behaviors as well as coming to the aid of the victims who are feeling helpless. It’s WORLD WAR ILL and war is still hell. Join the Doomsday Brigade today.

Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto
Ill Communication by Oscar Rodriguez @bloomxphoto

Dethrone (Featuring Zack Nelson of Retaliate)

Society as a whole is falling apart. Loved ones are quick to turn on each other over a vote or political stance. While the politicians who are supposed to serve us are bleeding us dry and laughing their way to the bank. Knowing that as long as we fight each other we won’t be able to dethrone them. So let’s bring the apocalypse to them. Zack Nelson graced us with a signature line on this one and it fits our fatih in the political system.

Search for A.C. (Featuring Jon Crerar of Detoxi & Stalag 13, Donny Phillips of the Illage People)

Growing up as fans of the Bones Brigade, we love the video Search for Animal Chin. It taught us to always keep searching for the things in life that bring enlightenment. We still try to live that way. Always searching for knowledge and a higher purpose in life. Jon Crerar an Oxnard legend sang the Unbroken line “Life, love, and regret on my epitaph” which is a the band that inspired this song musically. Donny Phillips also busted some lines on the outro. We will always be searching and we hope you will too.

The Ill Deal

As fans of Hardcore throughout the years we wanted to have a skit. Just something to show that even though we take the band seriously it is a vehicle to have fun with our friends and to make new friends. Donny Phillips came up with the phrase “it’s ill to get time” an obvious play on “its time to get ill”. Our slogan perfectly embodies what the band is about. It’s ill to hang out with the ones you love. So we wrote a song that is straight up fun, with some igloo lyrics and easy to sing along to with your friends.

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